I have a 1997 Toyota Corolla with just under 200,000 miles on it. It is usually a champ when it comes to the winter time and I have had no real major problems with the car. The weather in Ohio has turned really cold the past week. Two days ago we were hit with a pretty good snow/ice/sleet/rain storm all day long. I didnt drive the car at all that day. The next day I was careful to clear off all the ice and snow on the car before I left for work. On my way to work every time I hit a bump or crack in the road the rear end would bounce up and down pretty harshly. I know absolutely nothing about cars and am wondering if it is possible my shocks could be frozen? Should I get them checked out by a mechanic or will the be fine once the weather warms up?
Wait, so what is the relation of the storm to the rough ride? The ride got significantly worse all of a sudden?
A shock absorber can rupture in cold weather and leak all of its fluid out, which is what I would suspect has happened. There’s nothing really with the suspension that’s going to thaw up, so it’s probably time to get this fixed. It shouldn’t be too costly, and plus this is a wear-and-tear item that you would have eventually had to change anyways!
Check to make sure the wheel wells haven’t filled with packed snow/ice above the tires. If this happens, the tires will hit this packed snow/ice and not allow the suspension travel up and down making for a rough ride.
Try a hair dryer set on low heat. Apply to the top of the shock where the piston comes out and into the underside of the shock mount. I’m suspecting that the ice formed around this area. If that works. then just warm up each shock with the hair dryer. That won’t hurt anything as long as you don’t overheat anything. Have someone jerk the rear bumper up and down carefully. Eventually the ice will break and you’ll be good to go. Wear goggles or glasses. When you play with water or ice, you WILL get wet. DO NOT use a torch. you’re too close to the fuel tank to even think about that. A heat lamp is almost as bad as people tend to walk away and forget about it. Hair dryer works best as you can better control the heat and direct right where you want it.
How cold? When I lived in North Dakota and it got below about -15 degrees ambient the shocks would get rock hard. They’d loosen up when the temperature rose s bit.
I can’t hurt to get it checked out, but if temperatures are well below zero I personally might wait a bit and see what happens.
You did not say when you had the shocks or struts replaced; If not at all, you are probably overdue for all 4 to be replaced. Years ago you would have gone through 5 sets of shockSalready by this mileage.
I WOULD TAKE THE CAR IN AND HAVE THEM CHECKED OUT.